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Making a Statement, Hokies Beat Miami

In the week leading up to Saturday’s meeting between Miami and Virginia Tech, most of the attention focused on the resurgent Hurricanes. On television and in newspapers, the Hokies players and coaches took notice as Miami became the toast of college football.

“Miami might be back,” field cornerback Rashad Carmichael said, “but we never left.”

With an unequivocal and complete 31-7 victory, No. 11 Virginia Tech upset No. 9 Miami and re-established itself as the class of the Atlantic Coast Conference as rain pelted a soggy crowd of 66,233 at Lane Stadium.

As No. 18 Florida State continued its Jekyll and Hyde act by losing, 17-7, to South Florida, Virginia Tech emerged from Saturday looking even more comfortable in the driver’s seat in the conference. The Seminoles are the Atlantic Division. Virginia Tech is in the Coastal Division.

Aided by the sloppy conditions, the Hokies shut down the Hurricanes’ potent passing offense and rattled quarterback Jacory Harris with blitzes. Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor outshone Harris in the intriguing quarterback match up that provided a sexy subplot.

Harris was under fire from a menacing pass rush throughout the evening. He threw for 150 yards, completing 9 of 25 passes. He was sacked three times, fumbled twice and threw one interception. Although Taylor did not throw as often – he completed 4 of 9 passes for 98 yards and one touchdown – he added a dimension to the Hokies’ offense with his legs. He ran for 75 yards on 10 carries.

Although the Hokies commanded the game with a 21-0 lead after the first half, they established a tone on the Hurricanes’ first possession.

Virginia Tech applied heavy heat on Harris, and it paid off. Rover Dorian Porch sacked Harris, forcing and recovering a fumble on the play to give the Hokies the ball at the Hurricanes’ 11-yard line. Three plays later, Virginia Tech took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Williams.

Porch came unblocked and blindsided an unsuspecting Harris. Although Harris’s arm appeared to move forward as if he were about to release the ball, an official review confirmed it was a fumble.

The Hurricanes converted only 1 of 11 third downs. They had 209 yards of total offense, punted seven times and made it into the red zone only once.

“It’s a fact you didn’t hear a lot about Virginia Tech this week,” Coach Frank Beamer said. “You heard a lot about Miami this week, and rightfully so. But I’m proud of our guys.”

By Mark Viera  |  September 26, 2009; 9:12 PM ET
 
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